Uncertain Times: Initial Undergraduate and Graduate Perspectives

Students from MSU forestry share their perspectives in the wake of COVID-19

Beaumont tower peaking behind branches

Initial Undergraduate Student Perspectives

Beginning on April 10, the department began hosting a weekly virtual forestry happy hour where students, staff and faculty could attend to share any concerns, frustrations, or just to talk in general. We will always do everything within our power to listen to and support our forestry community, no matter how challenging the circumstances. For example, with the pivot to online teaching, a majority of faculty members are taking intensive online workshops focused on effective online teaching. Here are some students’ responses from when we checked in with them in April.

"One of my classes had a lab that we were doing projects for and the first week we were able to go in and get our projects and either take them home or finish them quickly in the lab, if possible. Now we can no longer do that. If we can’t finish the projects at home we have to switch to writing a paper for the project points."

"I know for sure that I will be more particular on what classes I take online. There are just some topics I need to be in person for in order to ask questions and have that professor student relationship where they know when I’m confused and not asking questions."

"The hardest part has been technology. I don’t have great internet at my place and it crashed during an exam. I had to get my teacher to extend my time for the exam because by the time my internet came back, the time slot was over. Trying to keep up with all the assignments and work all on the computer has turned into a balancing act of screen time spread throughout the day because of my migraines, but I am thankful I have the ability to work from home still with my job."

"One of my classes was an easy transition but two of them have been more difficult. One didn’t have zoom calls at the start and was just turn in the assignment at the end of the week and post on this online meeting spot as attendance points. The other changed the length of the lecture to an hour instead of the hour and twenty minutes it was originally.  The zoom calls can be rushed to get through all the material and that has made it more difficult."

"This experience has taught me that I really value the in-person classroom. Having that interaction with other students and professors is a huge part of the college experience, and I miss having that. I’ve learned to respond instead of react to situations I can’t control and to focus on one day at a time instead of weeks/months at a time."

Initial Graduate Student Perspectives

"These are scary times to be living in. This change in plans and change in operations has affected the security of my summer research. I was waiting on a specific meeting that I needed to have in order to conduct summer research, and that meeting has been postponed to a later, unknown, date."

"A big thing that I am thinking of utilizing are the online mental health resources that the university and various programs that I am in have offered."

"When we made the switch to online classes, two of my three classes went really smoothly. The professors discussed with the class what was best for us to continue the semester and a lot of our end of semester projects were altered to accommodate not only being home, but also reduced to help with added pressures."

"One class has not gone so smoothly and I definitely feel the overwhelming weight of that class with projects, papers and work that still needs to be done. The biggest obstacle for me has definitely been dealing with my anxiety. As soon as we went to online classes I made the decision to return home to be with family because I knew that it would get bad and that my anxiety would be impossible to handle alone. And even being home it has been tough."


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